If you have been following my blog since Tumblr days, you would know that I’m a Nikon user. I own a Nikon D90 with a Tamron 17-50 lens. I’ve captured wonderful photos with my DSLR and you can all see that in my Europe posts. Now, I love my DSLR but it’s just too darn heavy! It’s also starting to show some cosmetic wear. A few Eurotrips and beach trips later, I’ve decided it’s time to find a replacement simply because I don’t want to be that girl caught with a defective camera during her travels.
Six months and two weeks later, I’m a happy owner of a Fujifilm X-M1. It’s a mirrorless interchangeable lenses camera which means it’s a digital camera that offer features and quality of a DSLR but in a smaller and lighter package. You’ve seen my photos on previous blog posts and Instagram photos, so you have a pretty good idea of the quality. But today, I’ll share with you what I think about the camera and if this camera model or any from Fujifilm’s X series are worth the penny.
Choosing The Brand
I’m brand conscious when it comes to cameras. I know, I know, it’s not about the brand but the ~skills~. But in my opinion, not all cameras of the same brand perform well on different ‘platforms’. For example, Brand A may be the popular choice for a DSLR, but its features may be considered mediocre when it comes to their point-and-shoot models while Brand B may be the exact opposite.
We have various reasons why we choose to support a particular brand. But if you’re quite unfamiliar with the brands available, you can use Google to your advantage. Keywords like “best mirrorless camera” can provide thousands of results within seconds. Respectable tech sites on the front page of the result will list down their top picks, varying from pro to non-pro models. Skim through these articles, then make a tally which brand and model was often featured.
Another method of choosing a brand and model is through your favorite photographers. One factor why I chose Fujifilm was the travel photographs of this popular blogger I admire. It also helps that this blogger is transparent towards her readers and I could trust her opinions whenever she promotes a brand.
Choosing the Fujifilm X-M1
Choosing the model proved to be difficult. At the time of purchase, there were various models to choose from and none of them were friendly to the pocket. It was also frustrating that older models were more expensive the newer ones. Like, why?
Then one day, I’ve stumbled upon an OLX ad featuring a brand new Fujifilm X-M1 that comes with a free Instax Share. Everything was only for PHP26,000 — WHAT. A. STEAL! After doing a little bit research and discussing my options with my boyfriend, I made the purchase.
(I sold the Instax Share, by the way)
Advantages a.k.a. Why You Should Buy A Fujifilm X-M1
- It’s the cheapest in the market (at the time of purchase).
- It’s lighter than a dSLR. It looks cute too!
- It can transfer photos to your phone wirelessly. Hello, Instagram!
- This model comes with a 16-50mm kit lens and performs exceptionally well!
- The LCD tilts downwards, which is great for hard-to-reach flat lay photos.
- It has video capabilities (which I still have to explore)
- It has a hot shoe which you can use to attach an external flash.
- There are various advanced settings and filters available, such as bulb photography, multi-exposure, toy camera, etc.
- The #1 reason why I purchased it: It has the ability to shoot RAW
Disadvantages a.k.a. Why You Shouldn’t Buy A Fujifilm X-M1
- LCD isn’t touch screen
- No external mic jack, which is a must for videographers
- This model doesn’t come with a viewfinder = Battery life is shorter
See also: Fujifilm X-M1 Technical Specifications
My thoughts about this camera
Six months later, I’m still learning something new about my camera. Here are some of the things I’ve learned and areas that I believe Fujifilm needs to improve on:
- It pays to read the manual – I usually skip reading the manual because I’m too excited to play around with my new gadget. But for this particular model, I highly recommend that you do read the manual because there are other features, functions, icons on the camera that is just too hard to identify or understand.
- Ergonomics can be confusing at first – The selector and commands can be quite confusing. Even after six months, I’m still getting the hang of it. Buttons at the back are also clamped together and may not be ideal for people with, um, large fingers.
- Monitor Sunlight Mode – Since this camera doesn’t have a built-in viewfinder, Fujifilm expected users to experience reflections and glare when shooting outdoor. To fix this, just hold the Q button to trigger the outdoor mode. But do take note that this may shorten your battery’s life.
- On/Off Button needs improvement – Maybe it’s just me, but I’m having difficulty distinguishing if the camera is still on or off sometimes. Fortunately, Fujifilm included a feature where the camera will turn off automatically if no operations after a certain period of time.
- Multiple exposure, filters, Bulb photography, and long exposure – Just some of the cool features I’ve recently discovered. Only applicable for JPEG shots though. :(
- Continuous Shooting requires time – This feature is great but it takes a little bit of time before you can view the photos. You need to be a little patient, young padawan.
- RAW photos must be converted first – I love that I can shoot RAW using this camera, but in order to crop, edit and transfer photos on your phone, you need to convert it first. Fujifilm allows you to adjust the photo (exposure, white balance, filters) before it’s converted to JPEG though.
- You can geotag your photos – I haven’t tried geotagging my photos because it sounds like a lot of work. But this feature seems to be very important to some photographers and bloggers alike.
- ISO 1600 and I can’t see the grain – I always shoot with an ISO of 200, but since the kit lens isn’t at a fixed aperture of f/2.8, I’m forced to increase the ISO to improve the lighting at night. I hate increasing my ISO because it makes my photos grainy, especially in low-light situations, but Fujifilm handled that department really well.
- Scratch-prone – This is probably my fault. I tend to expose my camera to extreme situations. I’m also very rugged with the device. If you’re extremely careful with the camera, then this shouldn’t be a problem.
Overall, the Fujifilm X-M1 is a great investment for casual photographers and bloggers. I highly recommend this camera to anyone who wants to upgrade their P&S camera or ‘downgrade’ their DSLR for a lighter package. If prospective buyers intend to shoot outdoors all the time or record videos, it is highly recommended to get a different model from the Fujifilm X series that has a viewfinder and external mic jack respectively.
My pro tip is to purchase a camera based on your needs. I chose the Fujifilm X-M1 primarily because it’s within my budget and it can shoot RAW. The rest were added bonus that I thoroughly enjoyed.
If you’re into selfies:
I recommend getting the Fujifilm X-A2 because its LCD screen tilts upward to 175°. While I know the latest model comes with minor improvements, but it doesn’t feel like an upgrade of its predecessor when it has so many similarities with X-M1 — in terms of features and appearance. But that’s just my take on it.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I’m just 100% in love with the camera and I believe it deserves a blog post on its own. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.